The University of Waikato - Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato
Waikato Management School
Te Raupapa

Staff News

MCOM Professor Kay Weaver has been appointed the University's Inaugural Dean of the Graduate School of Research.

Professor Debashish Munshi of MCOM and Professor Priya Kurian of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences are co-leaders, along with Professors John Foran and Kum-Kum Bhavnani of the University of California, Santa Barbara, of a tream that has won a prestigious Rockefeller Foundation grant to hold an international symposium on 'Climate Futures' at Bellagio, italy, in July 2015. See the story on this award in the Waikato Times.

Staff-Student Duo Win Award

Margalit Toledano and Murray Riches have won the PRSA Educators Academy Top Research Paper Award for 2013! They will be formally presented with the award for their paper “Brand alliance and event management for social causes: Evidence from New Zealand” at a formal academy reception in Philadelphia in October.

Inspirational Teachers

David McKie's charismatic, life-changing teaching style won him Corporate and Executive Education's Lecturer of the Year Award at a glittering Alumni Event on 23 November. The same day, the University also named Kirstie McAllum as the winner of the Early-Career Teaching Excellence Award. The department's collection of teaching awards are now at a record high.

Research and Teaching Accolades

MCOM was in the news in the last week of October 2012 as Shiv Ganesh won New Zealand's most prestigious research grant -- the Marsden -- and Kirstie McAllum was crowned the Waikato Management School's Outstanding Teacher of the Year. MCOM currently holds three Marsden grants as well as other research grants and as many as nine of its staff members have won teaching awards. 

The Art and Science of Public Relations

Margalit receives award
Our own PR diva, Margalit Toledano, has been elected to the Public Relations Institute of NZ (PRiNZ ) College of Fellows. Margalit is an internationally-known teacher, scholar, and practitioner of public relations who combines the theory and practice of PR as very few others can do. She is one of only four educators out of a total of 104 PRiNZ Fellows since the Fellowship began in 1962. 

Accolades in the U.S

The spotlight was on MCOM staff at the 2011 annual conference of the US-based National Communication Association in New Orleans. Shiv Ganesh won the Outstanding Article of the Year Award from the NCA's International and Intercultural Communication Division. Shiv, Ted Zorn, and Juliet Roper also won a top paper award from the Environmental Communication Division. Three scholars associated with MCOM won the Edited Book of the Year Award of the Communication Ethics Division. The award went to The Handbook of Communication Ethics, published by Routledge (New York) and edited by George Cheney of Kent State University (also an Adjunct Professor in MCOM), Steve May of the University of North Carolina (a Visitor to MCOM), and MCOM's in-house academic Debashish Munshi.

 The Handbook of Communication Ethics

The department has a strong presence at the International Communication Association (ICA) too. Ted Zorn has been elected Chair of the ICA's Organizational Communication Division. This division has also given an outstanding service award to Shiv Ganesh for his work as the division secretary. The President of the ICA, Cynthia Stohl (University of California, Santa Barbara), too has strong links with the department to which she is a frequent visitor.

Outstanding Teacher

Michele Schoenberger-Orgad has been named the Waikato Management School's Outstanding Teacher of the year. What impressed the selection panel most was Michele's emphasis on clear learning outcomes in her teaching. Michele has been a strong advocate for aligning assessments and learning activities with outcomes and has led from the front in this regard. Michele has now been nominated for the University's teaching award.

Department co-hosts major conference

The Department of Management Communication and the Screen and Media Studies programme co-hosted the 2011 Australian and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) conference. The theme of this international conference was "Communication on the edge: Shifting boundaries and identities". Here is a summary of the conference written by Florian Kaefer, one of our doctoral students:

How does technology change the way we communicate? Is Wikileaks a form of journalism? Does the Internet make formal organizations obsolete? Those were some of the questions discussed at the recent ANZCA conference. Communication scholars from as far as Germany, Indonesia, the US and Australia came together for what proved to be a vibrant, stimulating and truly multidisciplinary experience.

For many delegates, the conference provided an opportunity to experience Maori cultural traditions for the first time. Conference delegates were welcomed to the university with a whakatau, and soon found themselves actively involved in the hongi – the touching of noses and sharing of breath that is symbolic of physical and spiritual connection. Welcome speeches were followed by waiata – songs - and miniature "poi" (small hand-crafted balls on a string, symbolizing appreciation) were given to delegates in the University colours black, red, and gold, together with a small piece of paua shell. Distinguished keynote speakers, such as University of Waikato Professor and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Maori) Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Professor Cynthia Stohl and Professor Michael Stohl, both from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and film maker Gaylene Preston, "the story-listener of Aotearoa", shared their research and experiences. Independent film and TV producer and writer, Tainui Stephens, stressed the untapped potential of embracing Maori knowledge as a way to bring the country forward, and high-calibre panellists discussed burning issues such as the future of communication research and journalism education.

The conference closed with a poroporoaki, where both hosts and visitors expressed their gratitude for having been able to participate in such a unique and inspiring ANZCA conference. As one delegate put it, if you only meet at least one nice person, hear at least one inspiring talk and have good food along the way, you may rest assured a conference is worthwhile. Judging by the overwhelmingly positive feedback, most of us were able to tick those boxes.

A more detailed version of Florian's summary is available at the ANZCA website. 


Staff News

Alison Henderson who was the chief organiser of the ANZCA conference in Hamilton is taking over as the President of ANZCA in September 2011.

Kay Weaver has been appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor (Postgraduate) of the University. Kay had earlier served as the Doctoral Convener of the Waikato Management School.

Ted Zorn, Shiv Ganesh, and Juliet Roper's paper "Doubt, Delay and Discourse: Communication and Climate Change Denial" has been selected as a top 4 paper in the Environmental Communication Division of the National Communication Association's (USA) 2011 conference. They will present the paper at the NCA conference in New Orleans in November.

New faces on the MCOM corridor

The department recently embraced its newest full-time staff member, Prof John Oetzel, with a warm whakatau -- a traditional welcoming ceremony. Prof Oetzel comes to Waikato after 12 years at the University of New Mexico, where he served as professor and former chair of the Dept of Communication & Journalism, and as a Senior Fellow at the Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Center. Prof Oetzel specialises in health communication, intercultural communication, and community-based participatory research. He has won multiple research grants and published over 60 books, articles and chapters, including the Sage Handbook of Conflict Communication, for which he was co-editor.

The department also recently welcomed Dr Franzisca Weder as a visiting lecturer for a year. Dr Weder comes to us from the Dept of Media and Communication Studies at the University of Klagenfurt in Klagenfurt, Austria. Franzisca has published research on issues such as health campaigns and corporate social responsibility, and has professional experience in the news media and public relations.

Ted Zorn Interview on CentralTV

Click here
to view the video interview with Ted Zorn aired recently on CentralTV.

Mcom gains top internation accreditation for PR programme

The world's most influential organisation of PR professionals has given its stamp of approval to the public relations programme offered at the University of Waikato Management School.

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is the foremost body of PR practitioners and educators, with 22,000 members and 10,000 affiliated students. The PRSA Certification in Education for Public Relations (CEPR) has been awarded to only 22 universities in the world.

Waikato is one of just three universities outside the United States to have won certification.

"The PRSA's endorsement puts Waikato on the global map," says Associate Professor Debashish Munshi, chair of the Department of Management Communication where the PR major is taught. "This certification says our graduates are ready to take a job anywhere in the world."

To meet the requirements of the CEPR, the department submitted a dossier of information to establish that its programme had academic credibility and adequately prepared communication practitioners for the market. Waikato Management School then hosted a three-day site visit by two PRSA reviewers who interviewed a range of staff, students, alumni, employers and internship providers, and practitioners associated with the university.

"We had to meet nine separate standards, including providing information on what we do to maintain relationships with past students and PR professionals, and how we organise internships for our current students," says Dr Margalit Toledano, who teaches PR at Waikato and is herself the first New Zealand Fellow of the PRSA.

The CEPR reviewers noted that firms offering internships to Waikato students particularly valued the fact that the PR programme sits within the Management School, so students are exposed to business concepts from day one.

They also commented on the Management Communication Students' Association (MCSA), the first of its kind in New Zealand, which they noted was well-grounded in relation to PR practice and practitioners. The MCSA is affiliated with PRINZ, the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand, and offers students mentoring and networking opportunities.

Dr Munshi says PRSA certification shows Waikato stands head and shoulders above the rest. "No other institution in the southern hemisphere has PRSA certification," he says. "It's an international guarantee for prospective students of the quality and practice-relevance they'll find at Waikato Management School."

2009 Ted Zorn Alumni Award

One of the department's foremost annual event, the Ted Zorn Alumni Award was held on Wednesday 6 of May at the Academy of Performing Arts. The Ted Zorn Award, given by Professor Ted Zorn, is presented to Waikato management communication graduates who are excelling in their field and who have a strong focus on ethical practice.

The event was, once more, a great success with guests from within and outside the university taking part in the event actively by delivering inspiring speeches from various points of views (Management School's Dean Frank Scrimgeour, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Doug Sutton, Director of Communications Lisa Finucane, Graeme Purches, & MP Jacinda Arden)

During the night, several outstanding Management Communication students were rewarded with certificates of achievement for their hard work and excellent grades in MCOM courses. Congratulations to all ours students for their great work.

At the end of the night the Ted Zorn Alumni Award for management comunication was awarded to Graham Bethune, Communications and Marketing Manager for the National Screening Unit at the Ministry of Health. Graham is a Waikato masters graduate with a long and successful track record in communication.

Graham was Waikato University's Director of PR and Marketing for five years before going to Auckland City Council in 2002. There he led the team that managed communications for projects such as the $191 million Auckland International Airport share sale, the development of the Britomart Transport Centre and the $83 million sale of the council's pensioner housing portfolio.

Graham's current work is probably most recognised for the high profile campaigns for the breast and cervical screening programmes, with the strong focus on reaching Maori and Pacific women. "Good communication can make a real difference," says Graham. "I know I'm doing my job well when I receive an email from a medical centre saying 'we've just had a van load of women come in for their smear tests, just like the TV ads'."

Debashish Munshi, Jacinda Ardern, Graham Bethune, Juliet Roper

Debashish Munshi, Jacinda Ardern, Graham Bethune, Juliet Roper

He says university prepared him well for what he's doing now, though he didn't see it at the time. "I actually did my masters thesis on government advertising campaigns, and look where I've ended up. I'd love to be able to say it was all part of a well thought-out plan."

He says when you're at university you wonder what all the point of the theory and research is, but once out in the workplace the reasons become clear. "And I'm fortunate that the Ministry recognises the importance of investing in good communications and that what we produce is underpinned by good research."

Professional Advisory Board

The Department of Management Communication now has a Professional Advisory Board. The aim of the board is to generate fresh ideas for curriculum design and open up opportunities for students and graduates to gain meaningful work experience.

The board, which includes senior communication professionals from a range of private and public-sector organisations as well as department staff, is working on creating an effective interface between the department and the industry.

Current board Members:

Executive Director of PRiNZ (currently Paul Dryden), Philip Burton (Hamilton City Council), Annah Stretton/Tony Hope (Stretton Group), Graeme Purches (Trust Power), Karen Bennett (Environment Waikato), Bruce Fraser (Environment BOP), Carl Billington (Tertiary Education Commission), Chongmin Luke Li (Stafford Engineering), Stephen Knightly (Pursuit PR), Graham Bethune (Ministry of Health), Moira Neho (Former President of the Waikato Students Union).

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